Daily Devotion for September 25, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
This rendition of the tuneful Swing Down Chariot, with its locomotive rhythm, will put some steam in your engine!
Prayer of Submission
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Repentance
Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Savior; You saved the dying thief on the Cross who confessed faith in You and asked You to remember him in Your Kingdom. Remember me as well, O Lord in Your Kingdom. I repent to You my Holy Savior every sin which I have committed, in word, deed, and thought.
I acknowledge that without your Grace and Compassion, I would be lost. Please, do not allow me to be lost, O my Heavenly Father, but strive with me always. Keep me in the hours when I fall into temptation, guide me back to the light by the Holy Spirit. I ask that when my time comes to depart from this physical life, that I may have a peaceful and prayerful hour in which to depart into your Holy Arms. May I be washed white as snow by the power of Your Holy Blood; to live forever in the endless Glory of the Kingdom of Heaven.
[On the cross, Christ declared the forgiveness of a man who had spent much of his life robbing others by force. What does this mean for my own salvation?]
Prayer of Resolve
I bind myself to you this day, oh Christ, in your truth and in your sacrifice. I give to you my anxiety and my fear, my depression and my doubt, for you have promised to take them if we only ask; and I take upon myself your burden, for it is light and your way is gentle. May I keep this in my heart and mind all this day.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
John 18:28-38 (ESV)
Jesus Is Questioned by Pontius Pilate 
hen they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.”
Notes on the Scripture
Judea, the Roman colony that included the ancient Hebrew kingdom of Judah (the south part of modern Israel), was a “client state” of Rome. The Romans allowed the Hebrews to have their own government, their own religion, their own customs, and even, in some cases, their own king, as long as they paid taxes to Rome and did not rebel. A Roman governor — Pontius Pilate — and a garrison of Roman soldiers ensured that the taxes were paid and that Roman laws against sedition were followed. (At the time of Jesus’ death, Rome’s governor ruled more directly than during other periods.)
The Jews thus bring Jesus to be tried by Roman law, claiming that he is a “king.” That is, they try to show that Jesus is fomenting a political rebellion against Rome, for which Rome would execute him. But Jesus tells Pilate the truth — basically, he lets Pilate know that he has no desire to become what Pilate would call a “king,” even though he admits to having a “kingdom.”
Probably the best way to read Jesus’ somewhat cryptic statements is to read that “my kingdom is not from this world.” That is, unlike what the Romans or Jewish authorities would call a king, Jesus’ authority does not come from humanity. (And this is the literal interpretation of the Greek.) Is Christ the King of Earth? Well, yes and no. We can see that sin and evil, both within ourselves and from others, hold great power over the earth. But we know that we are in an intermediate stage of creation, and that Christ will come again and claim complete authority over it.
John’s account of Jesus’ trial is heavy with irony. The Jews, who are dragging the Son of God to be killed, do not want to make themselves “unclean” by entering a Roman household. Then, they want the Romans to execute Jesus for them, again, because they do not want to soil their hands with the sin of murder. They cannot kill Jesus because the high priests are supposed to be holy men, so with unmitigated hypocrisy, they arrest him and try to convince Pilate to convict him under Roman law, and do their dirty work for them.